JCU MUN Society Hosts Conference for High School Students

John Cabot’s very own Model United Nations (MUN) Society hosted its third annual JCU MUN High School Conference from February 7th to 9th.

This year 60 high school students from Italy, Switzerland and Poland came to JCU to debate international measures to protect against religious offense, and cross-cultural issues regarding the freedom of speech.

The event was opened with a talk by Dr. Pejman Abdoulmohammadi, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Genova. The lecture, “Islamic Law and Civil Society Issues in the 21st Century,” focused on human rights in the Middle East and the potential role of the United Nations in handling blasphemy and defamation.

“This is a very relevant and challenging topic, so to have an expert share his knowledge with us and with the high school students is incredible,” said the MUN Society’s Coordinator or Academic Debate, Corey Rutowski.

During the conference the high school students represented 55 delegations currently dealing with problems related to blasphemy, defamation and the portrayal of Islam in the West. Throughout the conference, JCU students were able to share their personal experiences as members of MUN and explain the benefits of being a member in such an organization.

JCU has hosted the conference for the last two years. During breaks, the high schoolers received tours of Rome and information about potentially studying at JCU.

The Admissions department was kind enough to provided 60 bags with JCU pamphlets, pens, and other souvenirs. Kathy Quinn began working on the logistics of the conference last summer and MUN’s academic advisor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Professor Pamela Harris was instrumental in writing the study guide and ensuring that the academic aspects of the conference were up to par.

MUN President, Anthony Vanicek said, “MUN is a small club but its members are very committed; so although it was difficult, we all found it extremely rewarding to have such a small club pull off such a big event.”